Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that occurs when the cartilage insulating the joints breaks down. With less protection, the joint area becomes irritated and inflamed, leading to pain, swelling and stiffness. Although there is no cure for arthritis, it is possible to alleviate the symptoms to improve your quality of life. Over-the-counter medications can be used as a part of an overall treatment plan for arthritis relief, and CVS makes it easy to buy them.
Acetaminophen is sometimes used to ease pain related to arthritis. Many acetaminophen products for arthritis have extended release formulas. This means they gradually release small amounts of acetaminophen to continue to provide joint pain relief for an extended period of time.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen may also be taken to address arthritis pain. NSAIDs work by reducing the amount of chemicals called prostaglandins in your body. This alleviates pain and also eases inflammation. Due to the anti-inflammatory benefits of the medications, NSAIDs have the ability to relieve pain as well as swelling of the joints.
For fast relief from arthritis pain, you may wish to use a topical pain relief product. Most of these products work by producing a strong sensation on the skin that distracts the brain from sensing pain. Key ingredients in topical arthritis relief products include cooling menthol and warming capsaicin. Topical arthritis relief products come in ointment, salve, rub and cream forms. In some cases, topical arthritis products may be used along with an over-the-counter or prescription oral medication for arthritis relief. They may also be used on their own, depending on the patient's needs.
You can purchase over-the-counter arthritis pain products without a prescription, but you should still consult your medical provider before using any product for the first time. Over-the-counter medications can cause side effects, may interfere with other medicines that you take and could pose a risk for health complications if you have certain conditions. Your health care provider can help you decide which over-the-counter pain relief products for arthritis are the best match for your needs. Always follow the directions for use provided by the manufacturer unless a health care professional gives you other advice.